An urgent meeting of Moldova’s Security Council was convened Tuesday following explosions earlier in the day that badly damaged two radio antennae, and a separate attack on a military unit in the Russia-backed breakaway region of Transnistria.
Moldova’s President Maia Saudu told reporters at a briefing the security council recommended improving the combat readiness of the country’s security forces, increasing patrols and checks near Moldova’s border with Transnistria, and tightening the monitoring of critical infrastructure, Reuters reported.
“Two explosions occurred in the village of Maiac, Grigoriopol district: the first at 6:40 and the second at 7:05,” Transnistria’s interior ministry said. No injuries were reported.
A military unit was also attacked near the city of Tiraspol, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.
Fears Russia Could Attack Ukraine from Transnistria
Transnistria is strategically located along Moldova’s northeastern border.
Ukraine fears Moscow could use Transnistria as a base from which to launch new attacks against its territory with the port city of Odessa located just 25 miles away.
On Monday, local television reported that unknown assailants fired grenade launchers at Transnistria’s security headquarters in the regional capital, Tiraspol. The station showed the windows and doors of the building blown out.
The incident took place on a public holiday, the Orthodox Easter.
Russia Wants Better Access to Transnistria
Russia has had troops permanently stationed in the region, which has a large ethnic Russian population, since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
A senior Russian official told reporters last week that Russian forces now intend to improve Moscow’s access to Transnistria ‘by taking full control over southern Ukraine.’
Although it’s not yet clear who carried out this week’s attacks in Transnistria, Saudu said that from the information gleaned by the government, “these escalation attempts stem from factions from within the Transnistrian region who are pro-war forces and interested in destabilizing the situation in the region.”
Few Jews in Transnistria
Prior to World War II, there were 300,000 Jews living in Transnistria, which was conquered in 1941 by the Germans and then handed over to Romania.
Tens of thousands were murdered there by the Einsatzgruppen units as well as by German and Romanian troops.
The region was subsequently used during the war as a concentration point for the few survivors of the mass murders in Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, who were forced to live in ghettos and camps, and were sent to forced labor.
Only one synagogue remains today in the regional capital, housed in a residential building, out of the 11 synagogues that existed before the fall of communism.